Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Neuroscience of Kindness

I recently came across an article in Parabola magazine, that explains the science behind the benefits of living in healthy, vibrant relationship with one another. It was called the Neurobiology of We, by Patti de Llosa. As a budding scientist (I am finishing my Masters Degree, and planning on doctoral studies) I love it when science affirms what I like to call 'intuitive truths'.

Essentially, scientists have discovered, with the help of advanced imaging techniques, how the mind - your thought processes - can change the chemistry of the brain. This process, is known as neuroplasticity. The ability of the brain and mind to adapt to varying circumstances, physical or emotional. Dr. Dan Siegel, a pioneer in the field of interpersonal neurobiology and director of the Mindsight Institute, studies the neurobiology of "we". According to Dr. Siegal, we have a triangle of well-being: Our Minds, Relationships and Brains. He is convinced that the power of we can transform our society, by transforming individuals and helping to make us more compassionate.

Scientific evidence for the dakbands - how much better can it get.

Essentially, by practising mindfulness, compassion, and kindness, we change the chemistry in our brains. The brain is, apparently, a social organ and positive interpersonal exchanges cause more firing of neurons in our brains, and the release of neurotransmitters which puts us into a receptive state and this allows us to engage with others and to be receptive.

So, I invite you to engage your mind, improve your emotional and mental well-being and dak someone today.

“Our task must be to widen our circle of compassion, to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. ”

Albert Einstein (1879-1955);
theoretical physicist, philosopher, Nobel Prize winner

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

DAK Mentors

I recently came across an article by Shannon Cutts, that presented a unique paradigm for the old adage 'You are what you think'. Shannon's expertise is mentoring and eating disorders, and in the Huffington Post piece she suggests that media and advertising messages mentor us. Whether or not we are aware of it, these messages and images sink into our awareness and affect our thought processes. In other words, if the media continually presents messaging that affirms beautiful is a pre-pubescent, size 2, white female, then the thoughts those of us who do not conform to the standard have might sound like this: "I am too old to be beautiful"; "I am too fat to be beautiful"; "I am too dark skinned to be beautiful"; etc.....These thoughts mentor us. They teach us, direct us, and ultimately destroy us - if we let them.

What an interesting, fascinating concept, especially with respect to the deliberate acts of kindness project. Daks as mentors. We can choose who/what mentors us. We can choose to be mentors. What is important is the outcome. Ultimately, the thoughts and messages that mentor you, influence what you do, your actions.

Mentors = Thoughts and internal beliefs = Actions } Connectedness } Community

What you do determines how we all live in community.

So choose your mentors wisely.